How you ask questions can greatly alter how they're answered – and how others view you and your business. The more you elevate question-asking to an art form, the more likely you will get the results you want. "The most lucrative sales conversations are useless if you show up for them armed with the wrong questions, writes Salesfolk founder Heather R. Morgan. In her article for Inc., she discusses five questions that every salesperson should ask their prospects. And, she explains how to ask each question to get a valuable answer. Below are a couple questions from her list:
Morgan recommends reframing "why" questions by using the words "what" or "how." For many, the word "why" puts them on the spot, making them uncomfortable. For example, as Morgan writes, "'Why are you interested in our platform' would become, 'What made you look into our platform.' Starting a question this way tends to make it more specific, too, which can help you learn more about your potential customer's motives." This simple switch can change the prospect's perspective and put him or her more at ease-and willing to give a thoughtful answer.
"What happens if you don't?"
Have you ever asked this question? It can be powerful because it uncovers your prospect's alternatives. "If they choose not to go with your product, does that mean they're not ready for it or that they're getting a better deal from a competitor?" Morgan notes. "If it's the latter, what or who else are they considering?" The question also reveals any hidden objections, doubts or uncertainties that he or she may have about your product or service. By exploring the alternative(s) along with the prospect, you have the opportunity to address issues directly. You can also point out shortcomings of those alternatives (and contrast them to your own offerings).
Prospects will expect any good salesperson to ask questions. The key is to ask the right questions, in the right way, to get the answers you need. Stand out from competitors by crafting thoughtful questions that show you're an ally and truly care about their business.